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A healthier Lake Elsinore sees heavier use as summer begins

By in Press Enterprise on June 17, 2017

By Michael Williams

Summertime and the livin’ is easy — and the fish are jumping — at Lake Elsinore.

An abundance of rain brought by winter and spring storms raised the water level, washed away much — though not all — of the algae and lifted the spirits of those who frequent or live around Southern California’s largest natural, freshwater body.

“I’m pretty much there every Saturday and Sunday,” said Randy Rogers, a resident of Horsethief Canyon about 15 minutes north of the lake. “I’ve been going there for years. It’s quick and convenient. The new marina’s really nice.”

Last year, primarily because of the declining lake level caused by prolonged drought, Rogers quit taking his 29-foot high-performance powerboat down to the lake in mid-July. By the end of that month, the city had shut down lake activity because of a massive, toxic blue-green algae bloom creating a viscous green mat sprawling across the surface.

Though the city reopened the lake a week later to non-body contact, few ventured onto the approximately 300-acre surface for the rest of the year.

Now that the lake is nearly 8 feet higher — with a maximum depth of more than 20 feet — and the algae has mostly dissipated, the crowds are returning as the summer season gets underway.

“It’s starting to happen,” Rogers said. “More and more people are going out on the weekends. It’s certainly busy.”

William Johnson, who manages the boat launch for the city and runs William’s Bait and Tackle there, said the Memorial Day weekend crowd was the largest he’d witnessed at the facility, which opened in 2012.

“It was pretty amazing,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a day where we went over 200 launches on one day, but on Saturday (before Memorial Day) we hit the 200 launch plateau.”

In addition to motorboaters, the […]    

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